Prickly Wild Rose


(Rosa acicularis)

prickly wild rose flowers
© Alison Kocek, all rights reserved
prickly wild rose hips
© Julian Missig, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)
prickly wild rose spines
© Séraphin Poudrier, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

Prickly Wild Rose is a small flowering shrub found nearly circumpolar and widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. It's commonly found in thickets, rocky slopes, and water's edge; adaptable to a variety of light and soil conditions from full sun to full shade, and dry to wet soil.

The branches are filled with sharp spines, sparse to thicket forming. Flowers are normally pink, fragrant, and with 5 petals. Ovate serrated leaves are green, turning a nice red in the fall. The edible red Rose "hips" persist on twigs through winter.

The hips are high in vitamin A and C. Nearly all parts of the plant have been used medicinally by native Americans. Prickly Wild Rise hybridizes with Woods Rose (R. woodsii) where their habitats overlap.